WE were delighted with the unanimous decision of Hastings Borough Council to support the campaign to cap the obscene interest rates charged quite legally by some money lenders and give local councils the power to veto the appearance of more of these on our high streets reported in last week’s Observer (“Council supports plan to cap loan firm interest rates”) as well as its promise of support for credit unions.
Debt brings misery to so many people in Hastings, St Leonards and throughout the country. Ill-health, breakdowns in relationships and worse often follow. We all end up having to pay the bill. The solution is, as Cllr Wincott said at the meeting, to ensure that affordable credit is available to everybody which is where credit unions come in. Local people save together and, when they need a bit extra and have saved for a while, they can take out a loan at 26.8 per cent interest instead of the 1,737 per cent charged by many payday loan companies
We rely on local people to give up their time to run the organisation and small grants to keep us financially sound. Our directors are all volunteers who do not receive a penny for their time and trouble let alone multi-million pound salary packages and bonus deals. We pay just one part-time worker.Take a look at our website www.hrcu.org.uk where you can also see the council debate and come and join us. You will not only be helping yourself but your local community as well.
vice-president of Hastings and Rother Credit Union